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Monday, July 8 • 11:00 - 11:20
FOREVER YOUNG: IS AGE OF IMPORTANCE IN URBAN SOUNDSCAPE DESIGN?

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Age has been demonstrated to alter auditory processing, as well as having an interaction effect with (urban) environmental perception. And yet, age is not systematically considered when designing and evaluating urban soundscapes. The present study used an on-site questionnaire to measure the perceived quality of two different newly designed urban spaces (N = 103 and 438, respectively), which was analyzed as a function of participants' age. Participants were asked to rate the soundscape in terms of eight well-known soundscape indicators (SSQP) including pleasant, chaotic, and vibrant, along with reporting the perceived loudness and soundscape appropriateness, their noise sensitivity, and age. The fraction of participants younger than 30 was 60~% at site 1, and 51~% at site 2, however, age distribution did not differ significantly between the two sites. In terms of the sound environment, site 1 was more shielded from road traffic while site 2 was next to a relatively busy city road; mean pleasantness across all participants was rated as 4.5! and 3.1!, respectively, on a 5-point scale. For both sites, and in line with the literature, noise sensitivity increased significantly with age. At site 1, only monotonous decreased with increasing age. For site 2, however, increasing age had a stronger effect, such that people rated the soundscape significantly louder, more chaotic, less calm, and less appropriate. It could be hypothesized that especially in poorer soundscapes, age becomes a more important factor in perceived quality. Conversely, for a younger population, a quiet area could be too quiet. From this comparison, no hard conclusions can be drawn because different participants have been questioned at each site and there might be other underlying confounders steering these results. Nevertheless, further research should clearly take age into account, and collapsing soundscape evaluations across age groups is certainly not supported by these findings.


Monday July 8, 2019 11:00 - 11:20 EDT
Westmount 4
  T04 Environ. & commun. noise, RS01 Commun & envirnmt noise